The Geography of Bliss tells former NPR correspondent Eric Weiner's tale searching for the happiest places in the world. In his year-long project, his visits include Iceland (one of the happiest places in the world), India (a world of contradictions with relatively high levels of happiness), the Netherlands (where he finds tolerance and the Center for Happiness Studies), Bhutan (a small Himalayan nation striving towards Gross National Happiness) and Moldova (one of the world's unhappiest places). In each place, he strives to understand the factors and cultural aspects leading to the country's high level (or low level in Moldova's case) of happiness.
While traveling a few years ago in Central America, it seems every other gringo had their nose tucked into the thick green-covered travel bible, also know at Lonely Planet's Central America on a Shoestring. Travelers often ended up at the same hotels, same restaurants, and going to the same recommended cities in a vicious gringo circle of travel bliss. The off-the-beaten-path fame the guidebook once had is now the dominant guidebook for independent travelers, limiting the spectrum of the travel experience. Although I used to strictly stick to guidebook recommendations, I learned the hard way that their information was often out of date or completely wrong.
Has Costa Rica got you down with its tourist explosion? Does Cozumel seem too unoriginal as your next vacation destination? Is Spain too expensive? Here are some recommendations about places you should check out...soon.